Tue, 10 Dec 2019

MANILA, Philippines - Emerging East Asia's local currency bond market posted steady growth during the third quarter of this year despite persistent trade uncertainties and a global economic downturn.

This according to the latest issue of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Asia Bond Monitor.

"The ongoing trade dispute between China and the United States and a sharper-than-expected economic slowdown in advanced economies and China continue to pose the biggest downside risks to the region's financial stability," ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada said Wednesday. "However, monetary policy easing in several advanced economies is helping to keep financial conditions stable."

Emerging East Asia comprises China; Hong Kong; Indonesia; South Korea; Malaysia; the Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; and Vietnam.

Local currency bonds outstanding in emerging East Asia reached $15.2 trillion at the end of September. This was 3.1% higher than at the end of June. Local currency government bonds outstanding totaled $9.4 trillion, accounting for 61.8% of the total, while the stock of corporate bonds was $5.8 trillion. A total of $1.5 trillion in local currency bonds were issued in the third quarter, up 0.9% compared to the previous quarter.

China remained emerging East Asia's largest bond market at $11.5 trillion, accounting for 75.4% of emerging East Asia's outstanding bonds. Indonesia had the fastest-growing local currency bond market in the region during the third quarter, boosted by large issuance of treasury bills and bonds.

A special theme chapter examines the relationship between bond market development and the risk-taking behavior of banks. The analysis finds that well-developed bond markets reduce the overall risk of banks and improve their liquidity positions. This suggests bond market development can contribute to the soundness of the banking system.

An annual liquidity survey in the report shows increased liquidity and trading volumes in most regional local currency bond markets in 2019 versus last year. It also highlights the need for a well-functioning hedging mechanism and diversified investor base for both government and corporate bonds.

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